Moral Agency: The Necessary Characteristics of the Criminal Actor

K. J. M. Smith

in Lawyers, Legislators and Theorists

Published in print October 1998 | ISBN: 9780198257233
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681738 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice

Moral Agency: The Necessary Characteristics of the Criminal Actor

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This chapter first discusses how the development of the criminal law's reception of evidence of mental impairment may be characterized from East's perfunctory references to the enactment of the 1957 Homicide Act, and to what institutional or intellectual forces such developments may be ascribed. It then explains how between the early decades of the nineteenth century and the late 1950s, the reception of evidence of intoxication moved from dismissal as an irrelevance to an ambivalent acceptance of its mens rea negating potential. The chapter also describes how the effects of external, incapacitating forces on moral agency proved equally theoretically challenging for English criminal theory.

Keywords: criminal law; insanity; Homicide Act; intoxication; moral agency; incapacitating forces

Chapter.  13920 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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